Florida voters show support for medical marijuana

Tiffany Butler

Photo by Zach Evans
Photo by Zach Evans

According to a recent poll from the Public Opinions Research Lab (PORL) at UNF, the majority of Florida voters are in favor of Amendment 2, which would legalize the use of medical marijuana.

When asked, 77 percent of likely voters said they were for it, as opposed to the 18 percent that were against it.

Support for the amendment comes from members of both the Democratic and Republican parties. It is strongest amongst those under the age of 34, but even voters ages 65 and older were in favor of legalizing it, according to Dr. Michael Binder, faculty director of the PORL.

Additionally, 40 percent of poll respondents who were asked how they felt about legalization of marijuana in general were in favor, showing a much different general attitude toward legalizing the drug than the last time it was on the ballot.

Shannon Burt, sociology junior, said she sees where passing this amendment could open the doors for legalization of it for recreational use.

“In 2014, a last minute opposition media campaign was credited with sinking a similar amendment, causing it to narrowly fail,” Binder said. “However, it appears that this time around voters are on the verge of legalizing medicinal marijuana in the state of Florida.”

Similar amendments have already been passed in other parts of the country, and their experiences with it may have something to do with the growing support for it. Jacob Jones, a bio-med freshman, said his sister lives in Portland where medical marijuana is legal, and has really benefited from being able to use it for her anxiety.

Brianna Lampkins, a nursing freshman, said she doesn’t see a problem with it, comparing it to cigarettes and more traditional pharmaceuticals — all of which are legal and arguably more harmful.

“In high school, we took anatomy and we had this whole thing on medical marijuana, and how it helps people,” Lampkins said. “I think it’s a good thing and it’s not like you can get addicted to it, as far as I know, and like oxycontin, people get addicted to that stuff and I feel like that’s worse.”

In order for the amendment to become effective in Florida, it must receive support from 60 percent of voters. Those who plan to vote on Nov. 8 will see it on their ballot. The full text of the amendment can be read here.

The poll from the PORL also revealed that republican Marco Rubio was leading in the race for Senate. 48 percent of Florida voters would vote for him, and over 41 percent would vote for democratic candidate Patrick Murphy. 10 percent of voters polled were still undecided.

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